VCUarts Dance + Choreography presents Queer.Art.Matters. — A Virtual Symposium on Resistance, Embodiment and Power, Friday + Saturday, April 16 + 17, 2021. The Symposium is organized into three panels listed below. All panels are free and open to the public, and require advance registration. Reserve your tickets at queerartmatters.showclix.com.

The Symposium seeks to recognize and honor the innumerable cultural contributions of Black and Brown LGBTQIA+ people to the American social fabric. Organized into three panels, the symposium invites a cadre of artists, scholars and activists to discuss how their respective work resists white supremacist, anti-black, patriarchal and classist exclusion by offering creative visions of future possibilities beyond the demonic ground upon which the current world order is built. Panelists will discuss topics including the ballroom scene, embodied queer aesthetics and queer disruptions in Fine Art.


  • Gia Love
  • Fatima Jamal
  • Cuauhtémoc Lauren
  • Richard Clark
  • Mecca Williams
  • Shoniqua Roach, Ph.D.
  • Kiyan Williams
  • Aeryka Hollis−O’Neil
  • Alex “The Drag Therapist” Jenny

Panel 1: The Category Is: A Panel on Ballroom
Friday, April 16, 5:00 – 6:30 pm EST. The cultural contributions of the ballroom scene cannot possibly be overstated. From music to fashion, the scene’s influence on global trends is undeniable. Moreover, the ballroom scene’s emphasis on kinship, space as ritual performance and its gender system comprise some of its most transformative and life affirming contributions within a white western society that constantly tells the scene’s Black, Latinx and Asian gay, lesbian, transgender, queer and nonbinary members that their lives have no value. However, the scene is not without its issues. This panel addresses various controversies within the ballroom scene and is organized around a keyword/concept about which each panelist will provide commentary.

Panel 2: T.G.I.F. (Thank Goddexx I’m Fabulous): Embodied Queer of Color Critique through Aesthetics
Saturday, April 17, 11:00 – 12:30 pm EST. This panel considers how multiply marginalized people harness aesthetics as an embodied form of critique that enables members of said communities—specifically Black and Brown queer, transgender and nonbinary people—to combat the myriad cultural messages, both direct and implied, which suggest that these lives are devoid of meaning or purpose. Panelists will ruminate on how they think about and utilize the power of aesthetics to cultivate meaningful lives in the midst of neverending slights, attacks and devaluation.

Panel 3: Beyond Representation: Black Queer Disruptions in Fine Art
Saturday, April 17, 1:00 – 2:30 pm EST. In Becoming Human: Matter and Meaning In an AntiBlack World, theorist Zakiyyah Iman Jackson asserts that Black artists play a crucial visionary role in imagining Black futures in the present that undoubtedly exposes what she called “the limits of recognition”. This panel acknowledges that complex artistic expressions of Black life cannot be reduced nor satisfied by mere representation alone.Thus, this panel explores how Black queer, trans and nonbinary artists approach and engage fine art in unruly and disruptive ways that expose the limits of recognition while conjuring visions of boundless Black futures.

Queer.Art.Matters – A Virtual Symposium on Resistance, Embodiment and Power is the sixth event of the 2020-2021 performance season, a series of virtual events created under COVID protocols and in the spirit of innovation and connection. This season is made possible in part by generous support from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.